In the heart of Old Town Lansing, Michigan, Absolute Gallery supports local artists as well as offering custom framing and an array of handpicked craft and gift items. Everywhere you look you will find something of interest. They offer innovative live programs from time to time too.
Visit 307 East Grand River Ave., Lansing, to see these pieces I just delivered and now available.
There is more than just painting to being an artist. After the painting is done there is choosing a title, photographing it, recording it in my database, adding it to my website, and deciding where to sell it—a local gallery, a distant gallery, an online gallery, in a show, with a frame or not, and of course the price. And then how to market it.
Today I delivered these four pieces and they are now available at the Lansing Art Gallery, 119 N. Washington Square, in downtown Lansing, Michigan. It’s a beautiful gallery just a block from the state capitol if you are interested.
Pantone Inc. is best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS), a proprietary color space used in a variety of industries, primarily printing, though sometimes in the manufacture of colored paint, fabric, and plastics. Annually, Pantone declares a particular color “Color of the Year”. Fashion designers, florists, and many other consumer-oriented companies look to Pantone to help guide their designs and planning for future products. Pantone has said that color “has always been an integral part of how a culture expresses the attitudes and emotions of the times.”
Pantone has chosen two colors for 2016, Serenity, muted pale blue, and Rose Quartz, a pale pink. A challenge was put forth on Daily Paintworks to create a piece or art using those colors. This is my answer to the challenge.
Ok, so in my last blog I indicated that art was 95% inspiration and 5% perspiration maybe making it sound like (some) artists wander the woods or spend hours meditating, then in an hour throw some paint around to create art.
Maybe it’s closer to the 80/20 rule. It’s just that the 80% permeates our whole life. Every trip to the farmers’ market is an adventure in color, shape, and design. I’m lucky if I remember to buy my produce.
And the 20% is hours filled with the agony and ecstasy of hard work that I love.
When I finish a work I’m lucky if 8 out of 10 are keepers. I was happy with this piece when I completed it; a week later I was ready to paint over it. I’ve had it in a few shows and online galleries and it hasn’t sold. I took it to the Saturday Artist’s breakfast for a critique and got some suggestions.
Should I keep working on it? Should I paint over it? Can I give it away?
Fall weather has been great this year. Sunny and warm is not a day to be in the studio. I took a day to be outside in the sun and fresh air getting inspired and taking pics. Potter Park Zoo and Hawk Island Park provided me with both.
I could’ve set up to paint on site, but I wanted to get as many photos as I could for the upcoming studio time when the weather won’t be so nice. Photos and some notes will provide the inspiration making the creation of the art just a matter of getting into the “zone” and putting on the paint. (Oh, ho! if only it were that easy!)
But for me the vision, the excitement has to be inside before anything worthwhile shows up on the canvas. And the light and colors of this fall day was quite thrilling.
Painted branches in that upper left-hand corner 3 times and scraped them out 3 times. Grr-rr! Just don’t like it. So just keep painting.
Continued the siding on the house but, hmmm.
It’s great to have artist friends to get an honest critique. I often show my work in progress to my friend Tom Nelson, (see his work at http://www.nelsonfineart.com).
Yep, those lines are taking your eye right off the picture plane. Let’s lose some of those and also lose some of the edges on those windows on the left as well. Lost and found edges can be an important factor in the success of a painting. And maybe a bit of change in temperature of the color to push that area back.
People admiring art sometimes tell the artist, “Wow, you’re good, I can’t even draw a straight line.”
Here are my straight lines. Left hand; right hand.
There are no straight lines in nature. Humans make straight line usually with the help of a ruler or some sort of straight edge. In my previous blog you can see my preliminary drawing where I used a ruler to draw in the building. I do not use mechanical aids when I paint.
I could use a mahl stick which many artists use to keep their hand off the surface of the painting while doing fine work. Or I could tape it off like the artists did in the 1960s when Pop Art became the vogue and crisp, straight lines were part of the style.
I want my lines to show my hand, to look painterly. I don’t want a mechanical look even on mechanical objects. This is not a photograph. This is paint on canvas or board after all.
So if you can’t draw a straight line, maybe you can push some paint around.
It takes a few layers sometimes. I’m not done yet. Still moving paint.
More decisions to make. I’ll keep painting ’til I’m happy.
Artists often get asked the question, “How do you know when you’re done?”
Painting is not like baking a cake. There is no recipe with a set time letting you know when it’s done.
But I like the food analogy. I think of it more like eating a meal though rather than cooking. When I’m satisfied, I’m done.
Or, if I’m full, I walk away. I may get hungry again later and go back for more. And maybe again (and again) until I find I’m finally satisfied.
OR, if I eat too much (overwork the piece) and get sick of it and don’t want to eat it EVER AGAIN! That’s when it (the art) gets cut up, or sanded and gessoed over, or pitched out the window, burned in the fire pit…you get the idea.
When I paint buildings I usually (not always) draw it out first. For this piece I decided to paint on a board prepared with black gesso so I drew in white charcoal.
Sometimes (not always) I block in the values in a few shades of grey. This is known as a grisaille. I like this effect and sometimes I am tempted to complete the painting in greys.
It’s good to set goals, to strive, to push yourself. Sometimes it’s good to go an extra 10 reps, to walk an extra block, or to complete a painting a day.
But sometimes life pushes back and you need to take a break. Having two surgeries in one year takes it’s toll on a body. The recovery of surgery on my left shoulder, my dominant hand, is going a little rougher than the right shoulder did.
I was feeling bad that things weren’t getting done. But this isn’t a time to beat myself up; this is the time to take care of myself. So if the floor doesn’t get swept, and a painting doesn’t get finished every day, I’m going to cut myself some slack—let it go.
I found I can do other things, like at 3 A.M. when I can’t sleep because of the pain I listen to interviews of artists on my iPhone, Podcasts at the Savvy Painter (http://savvypainter.com/series/artists/). Or, since iPhone has voice recording, I can record my blog so I don’t have to type this all with one finger.
So as everyone might start gearing up for the upcoming holidays I may take a nap and as The Beatles would say, “Let it be”.
Surgery on my right shoulder January stopped me from painting for about a week while I was tethered to an ice machine and on some serious pain meds. I’m left handed and it made life difficult but I got by and got back to painting as soon as I could.
NOW I’ve had surgery on my LEFT shoulder! Oh boy. (My rotator cuffs have just worn out) I probably use my right hand more than most right-handed people use their left, but this is a whole new ballgame.
But what the hey, I have to paint. And I’ve wanted to loosen up my brush style. Let’s see what happens when I paint with my RIGHT hand!
What do you think?
Oh, and on the 4th one after reaching across to my paint I realized I should move my palette to the right side!
When I was 4 I broke my left arm and I still remember throwing my crayon across the table because I couldn’t color. At least now I don’t have to stay inside the lines.
If you have a story where you had an obstacle to your passion that you overcame tell me about it. I’ll send one of these right-handed sketches to my favorite story. Ends 9/9/15.